FAQs
on yourpremium changes

Frequently asked questions

As a not-for-profit health fund, we’re proud to put our members before profit. Part of this is announcing our second lowest premium increase in 19 years. We've kept this increase as low as possible to deliver more value to our members.

The new premium changes will come into effect on 1 April 2020.

Do you have a question about your premium change? We understand there’s a lot to wrap your head around. If you can’t find an answer below, our friendly team of experts are always happy to help, so give us a call on 13 13 34. We’re here for you seven days a week. Or you can email us or ask in a branch

  1. Why are health insurance premiums reviewed every year?
  2. When will I hear about my new premium?
  3. Can I lock in my current health insurance premium? And what do I need to do if I pay my premium by BPAY?
  4. My premium increased more than the national average percentage. Why did this happen?
  5. Why has my premium gone up, but my benefits haven’t increased, and I've made few, or no claims?
  6. What is HCF doing to lower the cost of health insurance products?
  7. Why is the Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance decreasing as a percentage?
  8. Why has HCF sent me a Private Health Insurance Statement with my premium review?
  9. I have more questions – who can I speak to?

Q1. Why are health insurance premiums reviewed every year?

When we review our premiums we look at how much we paid in claims over the past year as a way to estimate how much we'll need to pay in claims in the upcoming year.

On top of this, the demand for health services is rising at a fast rate. Factors that drive up health spending and impact premiums are:

  • More people are going to hospital and accessing more health services each year.
  • More people are living with chronic health problems, which are costly to manage.
  • Health technology and treatments keep advancing which are new and better but also more costly.

So to cover the rise in costs, health funds must increase their premiums. 

For more information on what we’re doing to make your extras and hospital cover affordable and accessible for our members, visit Why premiums go up.

What makes us uncommon

Q2. When will I hear about my new premium?

You’ll be notified about your new premium by mid-March 2020 by email or post. You can also find information about your premium change in online member services.

Your first payment after 1 April 2020 will reflect your new premium.

Q3. Can I lock in my current health insurance premium? And what do I need to do if I pay my premium by BPAY?

Yes, you can lock in your current premiums, paying up to 18 months in advance in one lump payment, provided we receive your payment before 1 April 2020.

The deadlines for each payment method are below. 

Payment method Pre-payment deadline
Direct debit – credit card or bank account 27 Mar 2020
Phone 13 14 39 31 Mar 2020
Online member services 31 Mar 2020
Branch 31 Mar 2020
BPAY 28 Mar 2020

Keep in mind we’re no longer accepting cheques. Save time and hassle by automating your premium payments at a frequency that suits you. This could be weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or even yearly. You can do this by:

Please note: If you pay by BPAY, you'll need to adjust your payment amount for payments after 1 April 2020. 

Q4. My premium increased more than the national average percentage. Why did this happen?

The Australian Government calculates the national average based on the premium increases it approves for all Australian health funds.

Because your premium increase relates to your chosen level of HCF cover, it may be different to the national average (or the HCF average). Your premium increase reflects the balance between managing member payments against the claims we pay out for all members on your level of cover in your state.

Q5. Why has my premium gone up, but my benefits haven’t increased, and I've made few, or no claims?

Private health insurance in Australia is community-rated rather than risk-rated. This means you pay the same premium for the same level of cover as everyone else in your state, regardless of your age, health status, or the number of claims you make. This helps make private health insurance more accessible for everyone.

The reason premiums increase is so we have enough money to cover the benefits we pay over the next year. This increase is the balance between the premiums we receive from members on your level of cover, versus the claims we pay out to members on the same level of cover.

Also, more money is being spent on health across Australia, so we’re now paying out more on average per policy than in the past.

Q6. What is HCF doing to lower the cost of health insurance?

On one hand, technological advances and breakthroughs in healthcare have led to incredible improvements in medical treatment – a good thing! But on the other hand, these advances come with a hefty price tag.

It’s our responsibility to ensure your premiums allow us to provide the high-quality level of health cover that you deserve. But we do have ways to help make your health insurance more affordable:

  • Our handy Participating Provider search tool means we work closely with hospitals, doctors and extras providers in our network to help you either avoid or reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.
  • We work directly with the Department for Health and Minister for Health to influence reform to lower healthcare costs and the average premium increases.
  • Our Preparing for Hospital pages provide guidance on preparing for a hospital admission and feature a cost indicator tool that outlines the typical costs, potential out-of-pocket expenses, and the difference your choice of doctor and hospital can make.
  • We also offer eligible members a second opinion from a network of medical specialists at no extra costs+. Comparing advice can give you confidence if both doctors agree. Or it can give you a different view of your health and medical options – one of which might be a more affordable option.
  • Through our More for You program, you could get 100% back on extras like dental, optical and physiotherapy when you visit a provider in our network#.
  • We invest and support health services such as the HCF Research Foundation and HCF Catalyst to drive innovation with the aim of creating more effective and efficient healthcare. 

 

Q7. Why is the Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance decreasing as a percentage?

The Australian Government Rebate on private health insurance was introduced in 1999 to help make health insurance more affordable.

Each year on 1 April, the government compares the national average of health fund premium increases to the standard cost of living in Australia, known as Consumer Price Index (CPI).

This year healthcare inflation was higher than the standard cost of living, so the Australian Government Rebate percentage is reduced. Unfortunately, because the rebate is a government initiative, we don’t have control over this reduction. For more information on changes to the rebate visit privatehealth.gov.au or ato.gov.au

Q8. Why has HCF sent me a Private Health Insurance Statement with my premium review?

Your letter or email will include your Private Health Insurance Statement. This outlines your cover with a list of what is and isn’t covered (from 1 April 2020) as well as your waiting periods and limits for the year. We’ll now get this to you at least once a year with your premium review letter or email.

We used to send this information to you with your annual Tax Statement. From this year, we'll only send out the Tax Statement if you ask us to. If you’re completing your tax return online with the Australian Taxation Office’s myTax service, or if you use a registered tax agent, your Private Health Insurance Tax Statement details should be auto-populated. But if your details aren't populated, you lodge a paper tax return, or just want your Tax Statement for your records, let us know and we’ll send you this information.

Read more about tax time

Q9. I have more questions – who can I speak to?

If you have a question about your premium change, we're here to help. Or if you're looking to compare health insurance, we understand there’s a lot to wrap your head around. Our friendly team of health cover experts are always happy to discuss your health insurance needs, so give us a call  on 13 13 34:

  • Mon-Fri: 8am-8pm AEST/AEDT
  • Sat-Sun: 9am-5pm AEST/AEDT

Or you can email or visit your nearest HCF branch.

You can also find more information about how private health insurance works at Private healthcare explained.

PUTTING PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT

When it comes to healthcare, people want to know they’ll be genuinely cared for in their time of need. There’s care – and then there’s Uncommon Care. As Australia’s largest not-for-profit health insurer, our members get more benefits* back for every dollar paid in premiums than the industry average and the peace of mind that HCF is Australia’s most-trusted^ health fund.

Find out more

AVOIDING UNEXPECTED DOCTOR’S COSTS

Understanding doctors' fees and charges is the key to avoiding bill shock. Here's what you need to know.

UNDERSTANDING THE COSTS

How to get the most out of your private health insurance.

PRIVATE HEALTHCARE EXPLAINED

What you need to know about the private system.

HCF THANK YOU LOYALTY PROGRAM

To recognise your commitment we created HCF Thank You to show our appreciation. Check out our latest offers.

*HCF's 2019 Year in Review

^Roy Morgan Net Trust Survey 2018 & 2019

+Must have had hospital cover for 12 months and a specialist consultation to use this service. Excludes Accident Only Basic cover. Conditions apply.

#Depends on your level of cover and annual limits.